Scene 1

A tiny leaf – dark-veined, still supple and verdant with youth- floats upon the surface of bottomless effulgence, its delicately curled form all but weightless, perfectly buoyed by the infinity upon which it rests. The waters cradle it, a majestic current so broad and deep that it cannot properly be felt carries it subtly, incontrovertibly, toward the cresting horizon of an immense outlet, the merging of river into sea, self into totality. This leaf is still far from that luminous shore, however; for now, it spins softly upon the spot, passive, relaxed, its face turned upward to a mottled heaven, a variegated paradise reflected in limpid colors, deeper than deep, within the water's bosom. The leaf merely is, motionless in itself, passionless, without thought or need, without….

Well, mostly without need….

The tiny leaf surreptitiously scratches its right knee, digging fingers into the crease of cream linen bunching above its nerhide boot, and then sighs in relief, returning to its effortless suspension upon the Force's broad stream. A minute ripple spreads from its center, barely ruffling the placidity of the waters, a silent march of concentric rings, widening circles passing gracefully from center to periphery, opening like perfect round eyes or deepest inhalation – until they brush against a second leaf.

This leaf is mottled dusky red and gold, its veins wide and knotted, its surface a hoary, thick-woven net of accrued years and wisdom. It floats upon the same endless radiance- unmoving, perfectly serene – until the barest disturbance bumps gently against its borders, rocking it slightly, setting it into a lazy counterclockwise spin.

The second leaf opens its eyes and releases a very short breath of exasperation, a textured breeze just strong enough to lift the tender young leaf from its place, flip it over in midair, and settle it upon the unyielding shore of a thick meditation cushion, in a dim chamber at the Jedi Temple's sheltered heart.


Blinking off the vestiges of a deep centering trance, the young leaf squints in the relative gloom of his surroundings. "I'm sorry, Master…. How long was that?" he adds, hopefully.

The tall Jedi master sitting meditation lotus opposite him raises both brows and purses his lips. "Scarcely ten minutes," he replies.

Obi-Wan scratches at his knee again. There is a small scab there, under the cloth, and it is itching like the blazes. "Oh." This is much, much more difficult than any of the exercises he was taught in the crèche or the clan dormitories. He can feel frustration rippling out from his center now, in widening circles of distress. He is far from tranquil.

Qui-Gon Jinn does not say anything more, for the moment – neither to encourage nor to blame. His student catches himself reaching for the burning point of need again, and stops himself, firmly twisting the fingers of both hands into a clasped knot and stowing it securely in his lap. He swallows and waits for his teacher to speak.

"Let us try a different anchor," the Jedi master suggests, after long consideration. "Ready?"

If sheer determination counts as readiness, then he certainly is. "Yes, Master."

A terse nod. "Good. Empty your mind…"